I enjoy site seeing as much as anybody. I love to see as much as possible, but sometimes it is just nice to take it slow while traveling. Traveling is one of the best things anyone can do with their time, but it can also be exhausting. Why not take it easy? Even if you don’t have much time, it’s important to take time and just be, even when there are tons of things to do and see. The experience is much more pleasant when you don’t try to pack too much into your travels. You do want to see some amazing things while traveling, but you don’t have to see everything. If you try to do and see everything then your trip just becomes a checklist, instead of what it should be, an amazing experience.
Here are my five reasons for slowing down when traveling:
1. You may not see and do everything, but you will enjoy what you do and see more. You will get to know the place you travel to on a different level.
I meet quite a few Europeans traveling around in the hostels I stay at. Most of them are seasoned travelers and go from one place to the next, easily navigating around. I must admit this is the hard part of traveling for me. I get very comfortable and attached to most places I visit. When most people want only a few days somewhere, and then they want to go on to the next, I want a week at each place. I don’t want to go, go, go and see, see, see. I want to take it all in. I want to sit and read somewhere beautiful and watch the locals do their thing. I want to go to the same coffee shop at least twice. I like to wander and get lost and then be able to find my way the next day. You can’t get to know a place and the people by breezing through each place.
2. Did you find or see something you love, only to know you will dream about going back? Make time to do it again, even if you don’t get to do something else.
My week in Paris wasn’t enough, but I did do a few things more than once. I fell in love with a coffee shop called Telescope. Though I am not drinking coffee, I still appreciate coffee shops and the atmosphere that some are able to achieve. Telescope was wonderful, and their Chocolat Chaud (hot chocolate), a bittersweet, thick drinking chocolate, was of course yummy. I went to several other places during my stay and had hot chocolate and it wasn’t the same. Making time to go back and get that second cup was definitely worth it!
3. Forget your sight seeing agenda for the day, you might have a chance to make friends and share your experiences.
My first day in Paris I didn’t have an agenda, I slept in late. I didn’t want to start my day in a rush to see everything. When on vacation, I like to be on vacation! I met a couple girls in my hostel that were going to the Eiffel Tower, and because I didn’t have expectations for the day I asked if I could tag along and figured if they didn’t want me along, or if we ended up wanting to do different things, we would go separate ways. We had a blast! My first time at the Eiffel Tower and theirs was more excited because we shared the experience together. We did all the things tourists do, I am sure. We videoed each other twirling in front of the Eiffel Tower, and we took photos of each other jumping in front of the Tower. We giggled and took picture after picture. It was maybe one of my fondest memories, I am sure we spent an hour there taking photos.
4. You might be mistaken for a local.
It’s easy to forget you are on vacation if you are always in a hurry to see and do. Also if you are constantly trying to photograph everything you do, it’s easy to forget to be in the moment. Choose a day or a few hours to leave the camera behind. Try to blend in, by just enjoying the day in a new place. I know it’s hard to leave the camera, and if you are always doing new things every day on your travels, then leaving the camera almost becomes impossible. It’s worth it though, and you will still have your memories, even if they aren’t on paper. Also, without your camera, someone might think you are a local!
5. You can forget your expectations and may not be disappointed when things don’t go smoothly.
Of course Paris is more romantic when it rains. But I didn’t know it was going to rain everyday I was in Paris. Also it was cold, I didn’t bring a jacket (so unprepared). There were days that I got to sit in a cafe in Paris and watch the rain! Most people with only a week in Paris would be devastated that most of their sight seeing would be drastically affected. But I still got to see quite a few things and you know I actually enjoyed sitting in the cafe. I listened to the locals speak in that beautiful language I can’t understand (though I’ve worked so hard on Duo Linguo. I totally know how to say “the woman eats the apple” or “the man has a cat”). So I don’t have a bad memory in Paris. From the rainy days to the few days of sunshine, it all reminds me of a little bit of Heaven on earth.